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Making Bloomery Iron
Old style ironmaking by hand

In most of our classes we make stuff out of iron. In this one we will make iron.
Well, ok, the only place that iron is really made is in the hearts of stars – we will refine iron from ore (for humans, that's 'making iron').

This is more a participatory demo than a class per se. We expect it to take all day. If it rains, we'll be doing it indoors at the smithy. If the weather is nice, we'll be doing it outdoors, a little further out in the suburbs, at a location TBA.

In the first few hours we will mix up some "cob" (dirt/sand/clay/loam and straw) and build a small bloomery-furnace.
We will then fire it with charcoal and over the next few hours we will add ore (magnetite) and charcoal until we believe we have a sufficient iron "bloom" in the bottom of the furnace. Then we will open it and commence to consolidate the bloom into a 'muck bar' and possibly continue on to wrought iron if time/energy/interest allows.

Through the day there will be continuous opportunity to just watch.
In the morning there will be a chance to play grassy-mudpies while we build the furnace; after that everyone can take a turn on the hand-cranked blower (or the bellows if we get ourselves together to do it really old-style). At the end, there will be some opportunity for striker-team folk to help consolidate the bloom.

There will be ample schmoozing time during the process. Food will be acquired as needed, by whatever means seem appropriate at the time, and we will go until we are done. You needn't come-at-the-beginning-and-stay-to the-bitter-end (unless of course you want to). Dropping in and out through the day as fits your schedule and interest is just fine.

School trips and the like are welcome; check in with us about when will be the best time to come by to suit your objectives.

Gift Certificates for Making Bloomery Iron are available.

One meeting, roughly 12 hours    dates&times

Instructor: PHF Staff
Fee: $25 before lunch, $25 after lunch, bring something to share for lunch, and lunch time is free. Lunch will probably be around 2pm
For as many as wish to come


Full Covid vaccination required. Bring your card.

Please wear proper clothing for visiting or working in the forge:
closed toe shoes (preferably leather, preferably high-topped. Sneakers are sufficient, sandals, crocs, pumps, mules... are not), natural fiber clothing, long pants that cover the tops of the shoes.
Click here for more safety information.

Dates and Times:
If none of the dates below work for you (or are already full), we suggest you
Add yourself to the Notification List for this class.
(The notification list gets emailed soon after classes are put on the schedule.)

This class is either:
- not upcoming on our schedule,
- or we've fallen behind in our clerical duties and not entered it in the database.
If you found it on our calendar page, we are planning to offer it on that date.

If you're interested in taking Making Bloomery Iron and it's not on the calendar, please tell us using our Notification-List Page.

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